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redtoolbox
Working without Nail Gun

Hi,

I am planning on installing the trim along our basement floor and doing the stairs with laminate. I will be using stair nose to finish the job. I am new to this and trying to learn. All the videos I have seen so far are done with nail gun.

Is it possible to do this without a nail guy? Just using a hammer, nails, and a nail set.

Thanks.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Working without Nail Gun

Yes it is. Houses were built for decades without power tools. Some still are. Just ask the Amish.

I'd start by purchasing a fresh box of bandaids though

dj1
Re: Working without Nail Gun

It's still done this way - finish hammer, finished nails and nail set - on many jobs.

To avoid smashing your fingers and reaching for the band aids, drill pilot holes.

Another tip: I like to raise the baseboard 1/32" off the floor. The tiny gap makes it easy to paint the baseboard later, using a metal guide.

Jeanne
Re: Working without Nail Gun

I installed the baseboards and chair rail in my powderoom by finding the studs, drilling pilot holes in the trim and then nailing it down, nail set etc. I did not need any bandaids - but it took forever. A nail gun is on my list of powertools I want - I wish I had bought one years ago. If you think you might be doing more of these types of projects, look into getting one. I have a power mitre saw and that is also worth the investment.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Working without Nail Gun

Before you have a go with the hammer I would recommend building something- boxes, trellises, whatever- to get the hang of it so that your misses don't destroy your new trim- that can hurt as bad as a sore thumb! And yes- pilot holes will help greatly.

Or perhaps someone you know can loan you a nailgun- I don't know if these can be rented but compressors can. Sometimes the 'big-box' stores have deals on small compressor/trim gun kits, and if you plan on much DIY in the future that may be something worth thinking about. Honestly, though I spent many a year building without guns, I would quit the business if I had to go back to hand-driving all my nails today. It's just not worth the effort when there's a much better way, but one room ain't too bad so the choice is yours.

Phil

Fencepost
Re: Working without Nail Gun
Mastercarpentry wrote:

Sometimes the 'big-box' stores have deals on small compressor/trim gun kits, and if you plan on much DIY in the future that may be something worth thinking about.

Ah, but WHICH nail gun? You'll find three basic types (and multiple subtypes with in each group) -- brad, finish, and framing. For general trim installation, a finish nailer is probably the best choice. Choose one based on the availability of nails... you don't want to get some odd style that locks you into a particular brand or that it will be hard to find places to buy.

A. Spruce
Re: Working without Nail Gun
Fencepost wrote:

Ah, but WHICH nail gun? You'll find three basic types (and multiple subtypes with in each group) -- brad, finish, and framing. For general trim installation, a finish nailer is probably the best choice. Choose one based on the availability of nails... you don't want to get some odd style that locks you into a particular brand or that it will be hard to find places to buy.

Not so fast there, Kimosabe! :cool: Brad nailers are actually better, in some cases, than finish nailers.

A brad nailer has a smaller diameter fastener = smaller hole to fill, in some cases the nail almost completely disappears. Brads are good where you don't need a whole lot of holding power.

Finish nailers have a heavier gauge nail and come in longer lengths and will give more holding power.

Which to choose, really depends on the situation and what you're nailing. Now, having said this, DO NOT just run to Harbor Freight and buy whatever they've got on the shelf because it's cheap. That garbage is cheap for a reason, they are not accurate, not durable, and can actually be dangerous because they don't shoot straight. Stick to industry name brands (Senco, Portercable, Hitachi, Paslode, etc. ) and you will have a gun that will last you a lifetime. Stay away from Harbor Freight, Rigid (Home Depot brand ), and gray market/no name brands, again, these guns are cheap for a reason, and really are a pain in the butt to use.

Fencepost
Re: Working without Nail Gun
A. Spruce wrote:

Stick to industry name brands (Senco, Portercable, Hitachi, Paslode, etc. ) and you will have a gun that will last you a lifetime. Stay away from Harbor Freight, Rigid (Home Depot brand ), and gray market/no name brands, again, these guns are cheap for a reason, and really are a pain in the butt to use.

Also stay away from "oil free" compressors. They are garbage and won't last long -- the name brand ones might be slightly better, but still not reliable in the long term. Get a good, name-brand compact compressor with real lubrication; it will last many times longer than an oil free one but won't cost very much more.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Working without Nail Gun

My oil free Campbell Hausfeld compressor has been working just fine going on 20 years now.

dj1
Re: Working without Nail Gun

Today I started building a queen size headboard, using solid oak.

I used finish nails, nail set, screws and glue. No gun, no compressor, no brads.

For most small jobs, certain power tools are simply unnecessary.

ordjen
Re: Working without Nail Gun

For years, I used to laugh at Norm Abrams for grabbing his nail gun for every little project. Then I finally bought one after having rented one for a project. Now my compressor and guns stand always at the ready. Granted I am not a carpenter using the guns day in, day out, but my inexpensive PorterCable package unit bought at Home Depot has given me 20 years of trouble free service. Even now they can be had for about $200 for the package with the compressor and a couple guns.

The beauty of guns is that they go in so fast that they don't knock the work out of alignment, as does a hammer blow. The miter joint stays tight. Oak generally doesn't have to be pre-drilled. A gun also frees up a hand to aid in alignment. With a hammer and nail, both hands are needed. With a gun, one hand holds the trim piece, the other the gun.

Guns are also great for securing joints being glued without clamping. They also keep pieces in line where stronger fasteners such as screws are being used.

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